In Northern Ireland the very active Ulster Gardens Scheme raises money for local National Trust gardens each year through a series of open gardens. This year eight gardens will open for a day or two days over a weekend at their peak season while another 15 are open by appointment between April and October. As one might expect, IGPS members are to the fore with some opening their gardens for the first time while others could be considered stalwarts of the Scheme.
Katherine Nixon will be opening her new garden near Killinchy, Co Down right on the shore of one of our most beautiful natural landscapes, Strangford Lough, on 6-7th August. Not only is there a chance to see her husband James’s black native Irish bees but there will also be an exhibition of work by invited artists.
Six of our members will be opening their gardens by appointment. Just a mile or two away on the other side of Killinchy village, Knox Gass makes a welcome return to the Scheme when he opens his newly created, plantsperson’s garden for the first time. Also for the first time, Penny McNeill will open her half acre garden near Ballycastle on the north Antrim coast.
David and Janet Ledsham also garden on the Co Antrim coast but in Ballygally, near Larne and the Northern region have organised a visit to it on Saturday 9th April when we hope to see early spring treasures and maybe a final fling for the hellebores. Members from other regions are, as always, most welcome to join in.
Other gardens owned by Society members and open by appointment are those of Susan and Colin Tindall at Timpanny Nursery near Ballynahinch, John and Agnes Peacocke just outside Downpatrick, and Adrian Walsh’s bijou city garden in south Belfast.
Text and photographs from Maeve Bell, Chairperson of the Northern Region of the IGPS